Honda quietly gained approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test its autonomous cars on the streets of California.
The Japanese automaker is the latest to earn a go-signal from the state following other approved companies such as Audi, Lexus, Google, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Tesla Motors, Nissan, and BMW. Currently, it runs an autonomous car testing facility in Concord, CA, which was created specifically for test driving of such type of vehicles.
Last summer, Honda unveiled Acura RLX, a prototype autonomous vehicle that claims to have all the necessary sensors and computing features needed in such type of car. The company had so far been quietly aspiring to come up with its own self-driving car to launch in the near future.
Apart from California, U.S. states such as Florida, Michigan and Nevada also allow companies to test their autonomous cars on their streets.
Google is by far the most popular name when it comes to autonomous vehicles. The company already began publicizing its self-driving vehicles, which have been hitting the roads of California and Texas for testing. Google plans to introduce the cars as publicly available vehicles by 2020, 10 years following Google unveiled the concept in 2010.
At least ten automakers filed a pledge to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and to the Insurance Institute for Auto Safety to build their new cars with automatic braking systems in a bid to speed up the adoption of autonomous vehicles. These include car manufacturers such as Audi, Ford, BMW, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Mazda, Toyota, Tesla, Volvo and Volkswagen.
According to these companies, their new cars will be built under the specific norm that all will feature an automatic braking system. However, there is no mention of a specific target date on when we can expect the said integration. Reports by the Associated Press say that the automakers collectively make up 57 percent of last year's total sales of car and light truck vehicles.
The Acura RLX by Honda boasts of a number of safety and security features, which include seat belts and airbags, child safety, body structure design, braking systems, vehicle stability assist, tire pressure monitoring system, security and collision mitigation braking system. The latter has the goal of alerting the driver when he has to apply the brakes.
"It is not alone expected to always brake the vehicle sufficiently to avoid a collision. The driver always remains responsible for avoiding collisions," said Honda.